Elīna Jātniece

Elīna Jātniece | Photo: private
Elīna Jātniece | Photo: private

"Life Stories of my Grandfather‘s Family Members in the course of Latvia’s History”

In October 2016, twenty-four award winners from EUSTORY competitions met at a History Camp in Georgia. For this occasion they prepared posters about their projects and findings which were displayed in the National History Museum in Tbilisi.

My competition entry was about my grandfather’s family history. I especially investigated my grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s encounters with different ruling powers and how these powers affected their actions, lives and destinies.

How did you decide on your topic?
I chose this topic because I believe that in order to start getting to know history, one has to begin with his or her own history. Therefore, I wanted to learn more about the history of my family and how different authorities have affected the life stories of my family members.

How did you react when you came upon surprising points during your research?
I was surprised how many documents regarding my great-grandfather were available in the archive due to the fact that he has been interrogated by the Cheka. It was very time-consuming to prove the kinship because many documents were required; however, in the end I was able to obtain them rather easily. The materials from interrogations and other documents from the Soviet period were in Russian. Since I cannot speak Russian, my tutor helped me a lot.

How did the research affect you personally?
The whole research was about my grandfather’s family and, thus, the whole process was very emotional and significant for me.  In addition, I was the first member of my family (except my great-grandfather himself) who has seen my great-grandfather’s original birth certificate, because it was kept in my great-grandfather’s file in the State Archives of Latvia. I realized that, despite being forced to live under the Soviet regime, my great- grandfather was a true patriot and never lost hope that Latvia will regain its independence someday.

Take a closer look at Elina’s poster here.

For her project about the story of her grandfather´s family, Elina was awarded the prize of appreciation in the Latvian history competition.

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